The R-Instat software developed and supported by IDEMS has a special menu for the analysis of public procurement data, which aims to make it easy to do specific analyses commonly used to understand corruption risks in the public procurement process.
This was initially development through a project led by mathematicians at the University of Oxford, partnering with IDEMS staff and social scientists (including the University of Sussex). Following the success of that project, the Conflict and Social Development Issues Department of the DfID UK is funding the continuation of this work led by the University of Sussex and in collaboration with IDEMS.
In this project IDEMS and African Maths Initiative (AMI) are enhancing the facilities of the procurement menu in R-Instat to support further analysis of procurement data. Further, IDEMS and AMI are also including open procurement data sets, collected by the University of Sussex from a variety of countries, into R-Instat’s data set library to allow access to anyone.
This year a workshop took place at Makerere University, Uganda bringing together mathematics and statistics students, civil society groups, the government procurement agency and political science researchers to work together to gain hands on experience working with procurement data and understanding how it can be used to gain insights into the procurement process. Further development of R-Instat and workshops in other countries are planned for 2019.
The use of large scale public procurement datasets to analyse corruption risks is a very new innovation which could lead to huge improvements in the use of public money if the data can be made available, with a high enough quality, and crucially, if there are people with the skills to extract the important information from the data. IDEMS is excited about the potential impact this could have on development, and the added benefit that we have seen on how these workshops provide a motivation for mathematical science students to see how their subject can be used to tackle current challenges facing their countries and on how they are able to acquire the skills needed to do this.